Old Devices Make Great High-tech Pet Toys

Keeping your pet entertained in the digital age is becoming increasingly easier. Developers have created many new apps and devices targeted towards our cats and dogs. An old iPad or Android tablet can be put to good use by installing one of the animal-friendly apps now available.

Cat food giant Friskies has been developing apps for cats since 2011. Games currently available on iTunes include Cat Fishing and JitterBug, both of which tempt felines into chasing moving targets on the screen of a tablet or phone. The apps are inspired by a cat’s natural curiosity and imagination.

According to Nestle Purina, parent company of Friskies, the games have been downloaded more than 2.7 million times. On average there are about 20,000 downloads a week on iTunes alone. Cats have demonstrated the games in nearly 12,000 videos posted on YouTube.

Cat Fishing encourages players to chase after fish sprites swimming around the screen. The app has mostly positive reviews on iTunes. It seems that cats just can’t get enough of it. JitterBug, however, has a less favorable rating, with some reviewers saying their pet simply ignores the game.

Image credit: Turner

Image credit: Turner

Other toys developed by FroliCat try to mimic yarn and mice, or use a laser to get a cat’s attention. Demand for tech cat toys has been on the rise since PetSafe acquired FroliCat three years ago. The company also has plans to develop toys for dogs, but finding viable solutions that appeal to canines at the right price has been difficult since durability is an issue.

Apps such as Airship Software’s Game for Dogs are available, but many owners seem unwilling to risk their device getting damaged by an over excited dog. More durable hardware would seem to be the best way to go for high-tech canine toys.

Go-Go Dog Pal is a remote-controlled dog toy that mimics a small animal on wheels. Several models are available, including a skunk and raccoon that race around for the dog to chase after.

There are also fetch machines, which have been available for some time. These devices launch balls for dogs to go after, and dogs can be trained to reload them so they can play on their own. Brookstone and Go Dog Go both carry them.

Also available are pedometers for the fitness-minded pooch, and the GoPro harness. The GoPro can hold a camera on a dog allowing owners to gain a new perspective on their dog’s workout routine. Welcome to the digital age pet owners.

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